Meeting your Cultural Heritage Duty of Care
Proponents must be diligent in complying with the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 (Qld) (ACHA) and meeting their Duty of Care pursuant to that legislation. The ACHA places a Duty of Care on all people to avoid harming Aboriginal cultural heritage and large fines exist for individuals and companies as well as stop work orders (up to 60 days) for damaging Aboriginal cultural heritage.
The Duty of Care relates to ground disturbing activities with these activities being separated into 5 categories based upon the nature of the proposed disturbance and the previous land use.
- Categories 1 – 4 involve activities which do not create any additional disturbance and are consistent with previous land use. E.g. mapping, surveying, drilling on existing tracks or dozing where land has previously been cleared. The proposed activity can proceed under the Duty of Care guidelines as they relate to that particular set of activities.
- Category 5 activities are those which are going to create additional disturbance to pre-existing land use, e.g. dozing drill access in ‘virgin’ scrub. The relevant Aboriginal Party for the area must be consulted before such activities can proceed.
In undertaking a Duty of Care assessment any proponent would give careful consideration to the following (as a minimum):
- Search of the Register of Sites. The outcome of which should be contained in the Duty of Care Report.
- Conducting a desk-top assessment of the project areas in conjunction with the field assessment, to determine if additional measures need to be taken at various locations within the project area to further meet the Duty of Care.
- A field inspection of the project area by a highly competent and experienced person to determine (a) whether the intended activity will create additional disturbance to that which has occurred in the past; (b) the likely existence of items of Aboriginal cultural heritage; and (c) to ground truth the desktop analysis. This information may also be used in the development of a risk assessment sensitivity table and the development of specific recommendations.
- Compilation of report by a competent person to capture the Duty of Care assessment and associated recommendations.
- Compliance with the Duty of Care assessment when conducting project activities.
Should a proponent not have the capability or experience in the above actions then feel free to contact one of Spinifex’s experienced staff well in advance of ground disturbing activities to assist meeting these Duty of Care Guidelines.